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tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  March 8, 2012 4:00pm-5:00pm PST

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all sitting here black. we're saying this is our america and there's white people, black people and various other nationalities that literally have died and shed blood just to register to vote. and you all are sitting at home thinking because you aren't a democrat or republican or whatever your views are that you are just not going to do anything. and so for me, i'm here because that's the voice that i represent. i have a problem. if you have a problem with this world, step up and do something about it. >> arlene, unions are stepping up, entertainers are stepping up. you helped this week and tyrese you really brought it home for us. >> can i send my psa out before i close out? >> to all of the entertainers, rappers, singers, actors, athletes, if you are at the house and you are watching this right now, we're going to be at -- where we are going to be tomorrow? >> at the state capitol in montgomery alabama. jump on your private planes the way you did for all-star week
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and come out here and get some of this road work. >> if you love democracy, and that's what this is about, preserving democracy. be at the state capitol in alabama. this isn't just about alabama. it's about the nation. arlene holt baker, the one and only tyrese. thank you both for your time tonight. and thanks for watching. i'm al sharpton. we'll be back here in montgomery tomorrow night after the big rally. "hardball" starts right now. mitt the misfit. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews down in washington. leading off tonight, faking it. here's mitt romney's problem. he's not a movement conservative. he just plays one on tv and that's why he can't close the deal with republicans.
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he has the most votes, snagged the most states and the most delegates, but the enthusiasm gap keeps growing. it may be about to get worse with a string of primaries in unfriendly territory. rising gas prices may be the biggest threat to president obama's re-election. so why are some republicans arguing that the president wants to see the price go up? does that make any sense? plus if republicans won't stop going after contraception, democrats won't stop benefiting from it. eight democrats, all women walked out yesterday when the georgia senate voted to restrict access to contraception and abortion. one of them joins us tonight. one of those senators down there. and two questions. why is rick santorum worried about guam, and why is he in damage control mode out in those islands? finally, let me finish with how a president proves he's the man of the people and willing to take on big business. we begin with mitt romney's authenticity problem. he's certainly got one. michael steele was chairman of the republican national committee for years and howard
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fineman is the editorial director of "the huffington post" which has only been around for years. both are msnbc political analysts. gentlemen, let's start with the pro. let me ask you about this guy. howard, what was the great quote of the day from romney? >> he was talking to a birmingham, alabama, radio station about his prospects in the south, and he said, i realize i'm playing a bit of an away game. that was very sporty. that was kind of sporting of him. >> in other words, when he goes south, it's not really him. >> it's a bit of an away game. it's giving away all too honestly what his problem is. this is a southern base, modern republican party. >> there you go again. >> why does he always do this? >> i don't know. he's not feeling it. there's something about him that the switch turns off, the mouth
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opens, and this comes out. i don't know how you now go into mississippi, alabama, kansas, and make the argument that i'm one of you when this is considered an away game. you're not even part of my home team. >> every sportscaster now knows this line. they heard it in minutes. >> it's all too revealing in a way. not only does he view it as foreign territory, but also it shows his kind of mechanical view of the whole thing. in other words, he has a map of the country. he's strong here, not strong here. the balance sheet looks good there. doesn't look good here. this is a takeover guy. i wrote a piece saying he's doing a hostile takeover of the republican party. a leveraged buyout of the republican party. look at the spreadsheets. good assets here, bad assets here. that's the way he views it. >> the problem he has, i know what they are doing. they are trying to get everybody out of the race so they don't deal with the real numbers. he's got a big numbers problem. if you take the most favorable number of delegates for him, 404
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to 415, that's still going to leave him well short of what he needs to get to 1,144. with language like this going into the southern states, it's not going to help him win. even if you give him all eight remaining winner-take-all states, he's still going to be 640 short. >> you know what i always remember, the british guys will do any kind of field work during the day as long as they got home at night. that's romney. he will do away games all day long. in his "washington post" column making the same point, the column was, the tolerable candidate. and here's what e.j. wrote. his campaign, is part john mccain, part michael dukakis and part richard nixon. he's neither a natural politician nor a comfortable spokesman for an increasingly ideological evangelical southern and enraged political coalition. romney is a man of flexible
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views from the northeast, a mormon who wins votes from the least religious sectors of his party. a rather satisfied man who has to announce he's angry because he doesn't look it. hey, look. i'm really angry. michael, start with you. you are a treasure trove about your party here. tell me. this guy -- why are they nominating a guy who is the worst possible fit? the ultimate misfit? >> because, unfortunately, there has not been the sort of galvanizing around one of the other individuals to the point where they can push, you know, someone like romney aside and really move forward with a gingrich or a santorum. that hasn't happened. it hasn't happened from the beginning. there are a lot of reasons for that because the party is still trying to figure out what ground it wants to stand on going forward. it's not just about this election, but it's about a lot of elections coming up. >> if you look at the exit polls in ohio and talk to voters in ohio, even the ones for rick santorum strongly said to me, if
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it comes down to it, i will support mitt romney in the fall. also the exit poll showed that even those conservative voters tended to see mitt romney as the strongest candidate in the fall. so some of what e.j. said about how mitt romney is a man of flexible views from the northeast might play better in the general election if he gets there. >> but they are outsourcing. >> and some republican voters are aware of that. >> but they are outsourcing. it's none of us can win, we being the conservative party. let's look at the moderate types that might sell. >> some voters are thinking that way. >> here's the problem. i think he has three problems working against him. one is his personality. he's not really a politician. he's a business guy. probably a good one. we know he made $250 million bucks. number two, obama care. obama care is his problem. his aides made the case that math is on his side. that would take an act of god. this sounds like the "titanic"
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guys talk like this. an act of god for santorum or gingrich to get the nomination. a former romney adviser said this. you can't treat this like a math equation, however. your job as a candidate is to inspire people to join something greater than themselves. what is mitt asking people to be a part of? that's the question. something bigger than yourself. most candidates find that if they are going to win. >> he hasn't found it yet. so his spinners and reporters going over the math, they are making the inevitability argument. they are saying, hey. this guy has the money and the machine and the discipline and the toughness and the nastiness, by the way, to go up against president obama. that's why you should be for him. that's not the lift of a driving dream. and alex has publically lamented as has mike murphy and others that there are good things about mitt romney as a person and as a
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story that just haven't gotten out there. >> is it because he's been trying so hard to be someone he's not? >> i think that's dead on. i think it's less romney pretending than others trying to fashion him to be something he's not. he needs to just be who he is. coming off this rough economy for a lot of folks, they are looking for the motivation and inspiration. this is not about republicans or democrats, red or blue. this is just an american problem right now. people want to feel inspired. that's an advantage to obama, as you saw in the speech he gave last week, where he's using this very lifting language and motivation. i'm fighting for you. i did what i did because i'm with you. romney needs to strike that tone, but he has to be comfortable with it first. >> it's hard to make hard-hitting economic stewardship seem like the drive of the dream. that's what they pay the consultants the big bucks for. they have to figure out how to make refashioning american industry and the american
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economy in the 21st century seem like an exciting thing. it's not impossible. >> we have all been in politics. you look for the genuine article. the genuine article, and he's not. campaigning in alabama today, rick santorum said the reason he decided to run was because of romney's history with health care in massachusetts. and this is the second problem about him. not just his lack of a political personality. his history as having been a political moderate with health care. the very heart of the democratic -- the vulnerability as far as republicans are concerned. let's watch. >> obama care is in fact the death nail for freedom. that's why it must be repealed. i looked at the field of good people, but i looked particularly at the favorite in this race, the one who was the -- going to be the eventual nominee. the one with the inevitability factor. i kept looking at this huge
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problem, which is on the biggest issue that this country confronts right now, the eventual nominee, in quotes, is lingarly, the worst person to make that case to the american people. >> that's putting the nail on the head. >> it is, but listen to that voice. listen to how he draws you into that conversation. you may disagree with him on a whole host of things, but in that moment, you're going, wow. okay. talk. tell me more. that's the piece that's missing. >> that indictment of the front-runner is pretty authentic. >> yes, it is. and there are two reasons why with the voters. number one, with evangelical voters and conservative catholics and so on, they look at the health care law as an invasion of their religious liberty. meanwhile, the tea party types, the secular tea party types, look at the health care law and
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see runaway spending and runaway government. so it's a powerful appeal. >> i think he has three problems going south. he's going to mississippi, alabama, guam, but the two deep south states. >> hawaii. >> what's the most southern state in the union? >> it's hawaii. >> that's right. we know these things. first one is he's not a political personality. he doesn't connect with people. he doesn't connect with anybody out there. number two, he has health care behind him. he did the thing they run against. and third is lds. his religion. i don't like talking about religion, but i look at the numbers of last week. this week. tuesday night. he can't get above 28% in the south. in any of the states he's been fighting for. >> that's why he has a big numbers problem going into the convention. that's why you will not see newt gingrich or rick santorum or ron paul step out of this thing until it's done in tampa. the numbers don't add up for romney no matter how you cut it. >> somebody else could win? >> someone else could win. >> howard? somebody else could win? >> i think he's going to finish with the most of everything.
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>>. >> a plurality? >> a plurality. but i don't think he'll have the numbers. >> we might be having the first political convention in 60 years. since eisenhower and taft. michael steele, howard fineman, great guys. coming up, should newt gingrich get out of the way? is he the road hog in this race? i'm calling him the road hog. newt, you're a road hog. you're watching "hardball," only on msnbc. tdd# 1-800-345-2550 let's talk about fees. tdd# 1-800-345-2550 there are atm fees. tdd# 1-800-345-2550 account service fees. tdd# 1-800-345-2550 and the most dreaded fees of all, hidden fees.
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2008 for the lowest vote tally in a home state win. it's among the weakest home state performance since 1972. the only other major republican presidential candidates who didn't win a majority in their home state were george herbert walker bush in 1980 and pat robertson in virginia in 1988. both bush and robertson ended up losing, by the way. we'll be right back. in america, we believe in a future that is better than today. since 1894, ameriprise financial has been working hard for their clients' futures. never taking a bailout. helping generations achieve dreams.
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welcome back to "hardball." we've got more pros here tonight to debate two key issues facing the election. first personnel. who should be running in this race? newt gingrich is facing calls for him to get out of the race and allow rick santorum to take on romney one on one. will past tuesday's primaries be a reason to prove it and get newt out for good? then number two, the one affects everybody today as they drive to and from work, gas prices. it poses a threat to president
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obama's re-election. we always blame the incumbent. the questions we turn to our strategists. democrat steve mcmahon and republican todd harris. gentlemen, let's try to be analytical. todd, why doesn't newt gingrich get the heck out of the way? will he get out of the way if he loses both mississippi and alabama? >> i don't think he'll get out of the way. two key reasons. number one is ego. >> he has an ego? >> you think? he has compared himself to moses. as long as he's in the race, he has somewhat of a platform to talk about issues that are important to him. number two, because of this arcane change in the way that delegates are allocated in republican primaries now where every state prior to april 1st allocates at least some portion of their delegates on a proportional basis. so as long as you are not getting just completely shellacked in all of the states, you're going to continue to -- >> to what effect? >> when you go to the convention. >> then what? >> you have some standing then. >> ego and standing. is there any way, first of all,
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romney wants him in so he's not going to pay him off. is there anything santorum can give him to please get him out of the race so he can take on romney one on one and have a chance to beat romney at this point? >> he might be able to give him something like the vice presidency or secretary of state. >> you'd offer that. >> if he wins. >> that would take care of newt's ego. i think todd is right though. the whole game was to stay in through the proportional representation states. the romney campaign likes to tell the other guys they don't have the delegates and can't get the delegates going into the convention to be the nominee. what they don't tell you is neither can mitt romney. he's not going to have the delegates. he's going to super v -- have to depend on superdelegates. >> i'm watching towards next tuesday that we will be covering the southern states, where it's fair to say romney is not going to win either one. it's going to be one of these two guys.
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the pro-santorum super pac wrote it is time for newt gingrich to exit the republican nominating process. with gingrich exiting the race, it would be a true head to head race and conservatives could make a choice between a consistent conservative like rick santorum or mitt romney. this is really frustrating me. this is really frustrating me. because i want to see a fight where you can turn on the television and watch a decent battle on election night. between one of two guys, each of whom still has a chance to be the nominee in the republican party. that's what you ought to get. at some point, the effective runoff we want in politics. will we get one? the run-off between the top two contenders. >> here's the possibility. if newt gingrich can control the few delegates -- if he gets 400 delegates and can control them going into the first ballot, if mitt romney doesn't have the nairjity and newt gingrich can deliver his delegates, i mean, stranger things have happened. not in the last 60 years -- >> in other words, he's hanging on to be the kingmaker for romney. >> mitt is going to get the
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required delegates to get over the 1,144 needed. that's going to happen. he's hanging on to these delegates because it keeps him relevant and he can broker this -- >> here's santorum who has better control of his emotions than i would have at this point. he doesn't call for gingrich to get out of the race, but here's how he handles it. it's the one time he's shown some sort of fine human irony. here's rick santorum making his case. >> they are not doing so at my knowledge. let's put it that way. i have been clear about my position on this. i'm not saying i don't want him to get out. if he wants to get out, i'm all for him getting out, but i'm all for mitt romney getting out. i'm all for everybody getting out. i wish president obama would just hand me the thing, but that's not going to happen. >> that's pretty nice. human. he's telling the truth. i want them all out of the race so i can be president. >> he's occasionally human. from rick santorum's perspective, any outcome here is good because he gets the nomination if he's really lucky. if not, he goes into 2016 as the front-runner.
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>> you're already looking ahead. >> here's what happens. if mitt romney loses, the conservatives are going to say if we nominated someone with a spine with conservative principles, we would have beaten obama. we need to do that. >> mr. insider is that credible? >> i know they will. >> does santorum have another fight in him? >> he's 48 years old. >> i don't think so. the bench for every complaint about 2012, the 2016 bench for republicans is very deep. >> rick santorum has been the most hero ike i don't agree with him on most -- but he's been the most heroic. he's walked in there with two 3s in his hand. he's up against the richest, best looking guy with a perfect family and he's been fighting this guy heroically. according to aaa, they file these things. the national average for a gallon of gas, regular, is $3.76. getting up close to $4 for regular. that's up 24 cents from a year ago. 28 cents higher than a month ago. it's spiking. how does obama deal with the
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fact if this continues to go up. they are saying we are looking at $5. >> there's nothing he can do because a president can't control prices. but politically and symbolically, he could unleash the strategic petroleum reserves which won't make any difference but it will look like he cares. he could actually -- >> is that a responsible thing to do? isn't that for like when we have an international war? >> it's been done five or six or eight times in the last ten years. he could suspend the federal gas tax for a period of time. it would take congress to act. republicans wouldn't want to do it. the president would be on the side of the middle class. but it would add to the deficit. >> here's your guy newt gingrich going at it. here he is jumping on it. >> the only way that you fix the price of this is by dramatically expanding supply. this is real. this isn't a theory. it's not a fantasy. it's not a fund-raiser in san francisco. it is the way the american people fill their cars, fill
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their trucks. they deserve a president who pays attention to reality and tries to help them with reality. >> isn't he sweet of the guy saying that. isn't he a sweetheart? by the way, there's a job for him. i used to pump gas. it's a good pastime. you get a tan and meet a lot of people. maybe that's what he should be doing instead of wasting our time running for president. >> he will be doing something come november. >> pumping gas. go to jersey. you have to. you aren't allowed to pump it yourself up there. you're laughing, aren't you? >> what's a president do? what's your party saying? >> i think the president's position is absurd. he's talking about the strategic reserve. he's talking about -- >> i was actually talking about that. >> no, the president has talked about it. he has talked about increasing the imports from brazil. he's gone to the saudis and said we need you to increase -- >> i'm getting an epiphany here. didn't your crowd promise if we invaded iraq and took over that
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country that we'd get all that free gasoline and oil? it would be the greatest. all your intellectuals in your party -- >> didn't the president say what we need to do is get serious about alternative energy? he said we need a president who will get serious about alternative energy. >> he is. >> in solyndra as we've seen in these huge giveaways. you either believe in supply and demand, or you don't. it's absurd to suggest that there's nothing we can do to increase our domestic production of energy. it is absurd. >> todd. >> we have 13% of our offshore lands that are subject to production right now. 13%. he's nixed the keystone pipeline. we have had a 44% decrease in -- >> i've heard this stuff. >> no, no, no -- >> first of all, todd, you are wrong. every pump, every gallon of gas pumped anywhere near the united
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states goes on the world gasoline market. it doesn't become ours. >> and it creates jobs in our country. >> canada can either sell its gas to the chinese, which they are going to do now or -- they are doing it. >> there's been more domestic energy production in the last two years than at any time in the last ten years. >> on private land. on federal land it's gone down. >> -- they are producing more energy. >> all i know is your crowd sold us into the war in iraq and the promise was cheap gas. now you can keep laughing about it all you want. that was the big argument. jobs, jobs, jobs. every time there's a war in the middle east your guys say cheap gas if we win. we haven't gotten nothing out of that war in iraq. nothing except death. thank you, todd harris, who is dead wrong on the gas issue. he's one of those that wants us to fight this war to get cheap gas. >> that is absurd. that's actually insulting. it's absurd you would make a comment like that. >> i didn't support the war in
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iraq. i was against it from day one. >> you and howard dean. >> he's one of the two republicans that opposed the war. i take it back. i thought you were for the hawkish position on iraq. but your candidates were. okay, his candidates were. steve mcmahon, your candidates were against the war. no, i'm afraid they were for it. up next, rick santorum finds himself in damage control right now. we're going to talk about guam because apparently he said terrible things about guam and now he's trying to get their votes. you're watching "hardball," only on msnbc.
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[ kyle ] it's like we're connected. no we're not. yeah, we are. no...we're not. ♪ the allstate value plan. dollar for dollar, nobody protects you like allstate. back to "hardball." now to the sideshow. first up, super tuesday was to
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be mitt romney's night to get the nomination wrapped up. recall the colbert's report, the countdown to loving mitt clock. then here's what happened to the colbert countdown. >> bring up the countdown to loving mitt clock. oh no. 2 minutes and 45 seconds. really? just play the pundits telling me that he's the inevitable nominee. >> no knockout blow for super tuesday. >> mitt romney not waking up with the clear front-runner. >> romney did not close the deal last night. i have more time. i have to stop the clock before it goes off. i know. i'll just hit the snooze button. yes. yes. okay. four more days. that puts off my accepting mitt until saturday's primaries in wyoming, guam, and the virgin islands. the big three. >> wow. i think tuesday was the last of those countdowns.
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at least for awhile. next up, the guam caucus just mentioned. both mitt romney and rick santorum are reaching out to the islands' republican leaders and santorum is in damage control out there. why? let's go back to january and santorum's plan for banishing judges he considers too liberal. >> i want to be responsible. i want to be respectful of the constitution because there is a provision that judges are appointed for life. now maybe we can create a court that puts them in guam or something like that and keep their life appointments and appoint new judges to two different circuits. >> send liberal judges to guam. didn't we use to say timbuktu when we were talking about a far off place we never expected to visit? and finally, a distant memory. secretary of state hillary clinton commemorated the 40-year anniversary of nixon's trip to china with a recollection of how she followed the events of the
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trip. let's listen. >> i was a law student in 1972. i was a poor law student. i did not own a television set. but i was not about to miss history being made, so i rented one. a portable model with the rabbit ears. i lugged it back to my apartment and tuned it in every night to watch scenes of a country that had been blocked from view for my entire life. >> two years later, she was advising the house judiciary committee on the proper procedures for impeaching that president who went to china, president nixon. up next, we'll talk to one of the eight state senators in georgia who walked out the other day when the georgia senate voted to restrict access to contraception and abortion. this is "hardball" only on msnbc. power consumption in chi, impact wool exports from new zealand, textile production in spain, and the use of medical technology in the u.s.?
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i'm veronica de la cruz. a surgeon generals report calls teen smoking an epidemic and says as kids grow, 80% of them will continue to light up. 3800 children pick up their first cigarette each day. a government forecast says airfares will remain high for the rest of this decade thanks to increased demand and shrinking capacity. and a gunman opened fire at a psychiatric clinic in 3i9s burg. the shooter and one other person are dead. seven others wounded. those are your headlines. let's get you back to "hardball." back to "hardball." the georgia state senate today, it women -- eight women, all democrats, walked out of the senate chamber to protest the republican party's passage of
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two bills that would limit women's access to contraception and abortion. there they are walking out of the chamber. employees of the religious institutions have no right to demand their insurance company pay for contraception as the federal health care law would require. and the other, the one that prompted the walkout, bans abortion coverage. so their example of efforts in both the state and national level put burdens on women seeking health care. it's dominating politics in a time when many consider these issues settled. state senator gail davenport, i think i saw you leaving there senator, who walked out yesterday. and jennifer donahue is quite smart on all issues. she's with the "huffington post. senator davenport, take your time because this keeps battling back into the front pages across the country, nationally and at the state level. why did you walk out of the senate chamber to which you have been elected? >> well, thank you very much, chris.
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we walked out basically because we felt it was an attack on women's rights. there are 56 senators in georgia. 47 of them are men. 9 are women. one in the majority party. eight in the minority party. and we just felt we had enough there yesterday. one meant we could not put an amendment on. senate bill 438. and then the state employees. and that meant we could not put an amendment to say that if you are raped or victim of incest, that you cannot get what your doctor and have an abortion. and we just felt that that exemption should have been in there. and our voices were silenced yesterday and we felt for all the women of georgia. we needed to speak up and say something. >> let's talk about the way things have been. this is like most people say
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under the law. the federal government can't fund abortion, but it's legal. we all know it's legal. we also know that contraception is a fact of life for a lot of families. and single people going way back to the '50s or '60s when you could get birth control pills. let me go here to jennifer to get you into this. is this something that's going to keep percolating up through the year, this focus on something we thought was settled. abortion rights and obviously the need for contraception. jennifer? >> well, i think, chris, that 80% of the american public is happy with the status quo as it relates to birth control and abortion. but on the fringes of both parties, you see a lot of advocacy going on partly because of the prolonged nominating process in the gop where santorum is moving the discussion to the right and wants to, and romney is being forced to the right on that issue as well. so i think what you're seeing is a real disconnect between voters
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and their leaders on these issues. and senator davenport and others were really exercising what most americans believe actually. so this is sort of a two-pronged process where you're seeing voters disconnected with what their leaders are doing. >> yeah. i think fluoridation of water might be the next debate we'll have here. go back to the 1950s. it has left some republican women uneasy. republican olympia snowe bucked her party and voted against the blunt amendment. lisa murkowski says she regrets her vote supporting the blunt amendment. and a republican in new york assembly woman who is retifrg more than two decades says the current gop presidential field would take women back decades. let's listen to that assemblywoman from new york state. >> i do not have a favorite in the presidential race. if i had to vote today, i would
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vote for obama. >> why? >> because i truly think that the candidates that are out there today on the republican side would take women back decades. >> senator davenport, when you talk to your colleagues, i assume you have occasional conversations in the cloak room both among democrats and certainly maybe occasionally across the aisle. what do they say is the reason they are bringing up these hot, social issues like contraception? which we thought was a cold issue at this point. and abortion rights. why are they doing this? >> i think a lot of it deals with the health care -- affordable health care package. a lot of that is coming up now for this. i think we should be talking about things for the american people. we should be talking about jobs. the republican leadership has said that they want to deal with fiscal responsibility and local control, but yet they are not doing anything to get jobs for people. we have to put people back to work.
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we have to get jobs for people. we have to deal with the home mortgage foreclosure and keep people in their homes through loan modifications. georgia is at the bottom of the scale for education. and this republican administration for the last two terms have done nothing for education. what they have done is cut the resources for education. so we need to be doing things to get america back to work, put food on the table for america's good quality of life for everybody. >> thank you. on that point, senator -- let me get back to jennifer on the motive behind this stuff. do you think what's going on here is it's not just skirmishing over the old issue of abortion rights but this is a skirmishing skirmishing to wear down, erode if you will, as the court looks at this summer, the health care bill of president obama. the very heart of this debate of the election.
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are they working at it different ways? >> i think they are working at it on the state level, and i think they are seeing some traction. there's so many states that have legislation now that they are going through on these issues. but i think it's a backlash too. i think what you're seeing is a republican party that's moved so far to the right that these issues are totally acceptable to discuss, even in a time of economic distress. on the left, you see democrats who also want to talk about this issue because it's a winning issue for democrats. it's a losing issue for republicans. so i think you're going to see this even during the general election. i think this is going to be a big issue. >> i imagine four or five nights out of a heated convention hall down in georgia with republican speaker after speaker coming on talking about birth control. anyway, thank you gail davenport. it's an honor to have you on. and your colleagues, salute to all of them. and jennifer donahue, you're smart on everything. up next, "game change."
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the highly anticipated hbo movie. i got to see it the other night twice. it's fabulous. based upon a fabulous book by mark halperin. it premieres saturday, but i got to see it. it's unbelievable. they join us next. this is "hardball", only on msnbc.
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strong. danny why did you decide to put the focus and actually the meaning of "game change" around the palin pick. >> there was no one that was a bigger game changer than sarah palin. there's a lot of great stories in this book. a fantastic book and a lot of great movies in it. we felt the palin story wasn't just one of the best stories but one of the greatest political stories of all time. you have an individual who has never been on the national stage who overnight is thrust onto it right in the middle of a presidential election. and it just seems like this is going to be a very, very exciting movie. >> i'm watching it. it's absolutely fabulous. i love this movie. i'm probably going to watch it 20 times in my lifetime. i've already watched it twice. let me go back to mark, my colleague. i watched it last night with my son. two-thirds of the way through the movie, i said i'm watching sarah palin here. i'm not watching an actor play her. it's really her. how do you feel about it as a guy so close to this? >> julianne moore's performance is fantastic and the film-making
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is fantastic. danny's script -- the techniques used in the film that contextualize her, some incredible sophisticated film-making, particularly for a television movie that really does get you lost in the picture. lost in the story and the characters. danny's script adds versimilitude -- the techniques used in the film that contextualize her, some incredible sophisticated film-making, particularly for a television movie that really does get you lost in the picture, lost in the story and the characters. makes you think you are watching john mccain and sarah palin more than an ordinary movie. that's one of the real magical things about it. >> here's another season from "game change" in which two members of the senior campaign staff are having a heated exchange over sarah palin. let's watch. >> when you interviewed her, didn't you ask her about national security? foreign policy? domestic policy? so what did you ask her? >> i just -- we talked about if she would back john's positions when they conflicted with hers. there were no policy questions. >> you guys didn't grill her
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because you wanted it to work. >> i wasn't in charge of the vet, nicole. >> sarah paulson is great in this movie. let me ask you, denny. the heart of my heart watching this movie as a political guy was the existential reality of being a guy as, you know, you get -- you aren't responsible. you don't make all the decisions that lead to where you are. you make some of them. but you are stuck with who you are. and i kept thinking about steve schmidt's character in this movie. look at him there. i can't think of a better performance by woody harrelson. it's just unbelievable what he's going through here. he's stuck with this candidate. >> yeah. it's a really profound moment for him. you know, he advocated for her at the very beginning of the film, you know? he's a person who believes that winning at all costs is necessary because the goal is to win. and he goes on this really profound journey where he comes to realize that, you know, in the game of presidential politics, winning isn't
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everything. and that you need to make responsible choices. and that, you know, the vice president needs to be able to govern as opposed to needs to be able to an individual who is going to help you win. and i think, you know, the arc of steve schmidt is really what drew jay roach and i to this story because it's a really poetic art. i don't know if i've ever seen, when i watched his "60 minutes" interview, seen somebody in politics so publicly regretful the way he was. there's a lot of poetry in that. >> so much to him. let me get back to sarah palin, which everybody. we have fights in our office about sarah palin. she has so many supporters. you know, mark, this is not to be critical of her more than she's been criticized already. she comes off as politically astute, smart, knows how to take care of herself and put on a show but doesn't know the stuff most people learn in high school. doesn't know that africa isn't a country. it's a continent. has no idea why north and south korea are what they are.
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was that your reporting? >> well, certainly in our reporting, and as portrayed in the movie, there were moments when she was preparing for her initial interview with abc's charlie gibson and when she was preparing for the debate and the katie couric interview, there was stuff she didn't know and the advisers felt displaying that lack of knowledge would really hurt her. but again, it's important to emphasize, chris, the film also shows a lot of stuff, puts her in a very favorable light. and even the area where she was challenged to be able to perform in the debates and interviews. she was picked with five days notice that she might be on the ticket. they did it in such secrecy. there was no opportunity for her to start to prepare. and she had to prepare for those interviews and fill in the gaps in her knowledge while she was getting ready for a convention speech and dealing with her family. she was in a really tough position. >> and those questions were very sophisticated questions about international finances and foreign policy. i would have had an incredible challenge facing this. most people would. "game change" premieres tonight at the newseum. and on hbo. if you care about the country, you have to watch this.
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this is great. danny, fantastic. as good as "recount." if you really want to learn about politics from the inside, watch this movie. mark halperin, danny strong. when we return, let me finish about a president who took on big business and showed the people he's on their side. 50 years ago these days. right now. 50 years ago, kennedy took on big steel. what a fight that was. you are watching "hardball" only on msnbc. look at all this stuff for coffee. oh there's tons. french presses, espresso tampers, filters. it can get really complicated. not nearly as complicated as shipping it though. i mean shipping is a hassle. not with priority mail flat rate boxes from the postal service. if it fits it ships, anywhere in the country for a low flat rate. that is easy. best news i've heard all day! i'm soooo amped! i mean not amped. excited. well, sort of amped. really kind of in between. have you ever thought about decaf? do you think that would help? yeah. priority mail flat rate shipping starts at just $5.15, only from the postal service. a simpler way to ship.
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let me finish tonight with this. i'm speaking tonight at the pratt library up in baltimore about my new book "jack kennedy, elusive hero." 50 years ago this month, the 35th president had a bitter fight with big business in this country. worried about inflation, he cut a deal with the steel industry that if he got the united steel workers to hold back on their wage demands, u.s. steel and its corporate rivals would hold back on prices. well, having cut the deal, he got word that the president of the u.s. steel, roger blou, wanted to come in and see him in the white house. when the steel company executive showed up, he walked into the room with the president and dropped a press release on the table announcing a big increase in steel prices, right there in kennedy's face. and that's when the trouble started. recognizing the double-cross, kennedy made clear what he was about to do was this. mr. blou, kennedy told the steel company big shot, what you are doing right now is in the best of interest your shareholders.
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i'm going to do everything in the best interest of my shareholders, the people of the united states. kennedy knew at that moment that the steel executive was screwing him, that he was not only raising prices, he was doing it with impunity. he was leaving kennedy out there on a limb with labor. kennedy went into action. his brother, bobby, went after the steel executives in a way that , well, let's just put it this way, they couldn't take the heat. expense accounts were checked. hotel bills. anything that could embarrass the big men who just thumbed their nose, not just at the president and the workers, but at their country. they were quite willing to drive up inflation if it drove up their profits in the bargain. kennedy won that fight. big steel buckled, pulling back its price increase, accepting the terms of the deal, the deal that it made. it wasn't pretty. it was barely legal, but kennedy had shown some big shots they weren't dictators. the bottom line here is this. this country likes to know it has a president who cannot be bullied by big business or be pushed around by a smaller group that thinks the boys in the board oom are king and the rest of the country just has to take it
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